Wednesday, June 26, 2013

KEEPIN' IT REAL: Chuck's Truck

This is the first video Camilo Perez and I made after Jenny's Radar, and it's my favorite for a bunch of reasons.  It was the first time Camilo had met the guys in the small PD support group that meets at Larry's house every Tuesday morning in Vienna, West Virginia.  After the meeting was over, Chuck asked Camilo if he wanted to go for a ride.  Without hesitation, Camilo grabbed the camera and climbed into the cab of Chuck's truck, and away they went. Here's what happened.  After you watch the video, head beyond the jump to read about some of the production issues -- and ethical issues -- we grappled with as we edited it.

Issue #1:  Chuck hadn't told anyone about his gambling addiction before this.  Some people were concerned that his family would find out "in the wrong way" -- that is, on YouTube and not from Chuck himself, that it would become public knowledge and perhaps hurt the family.  Chuck didn't think so; he wanted to go public with it.

Issue #2:  Music.  Finding (free!) music that suits the tone of the story is quite the challenge.  Camilo spends an inordinate amount of time inside his headphones, scrolling through free music sites (I tried doing this a couple of times, and I just don't have the patience for it, folks).  Mainly, we wanted the music to invoke a specific place (Appalachia/West Virginia) instead of generic whatever-land. So we picked "Let it Rock" by Chatham County Line.  When Chuck first heard it, he looked at me with that look, and said, "So you're goin' all Deliverance on me, are ya?"  Yeah, well, sort of.  He understood what we were striving for, though, and agreed to the tune.  FYI, the music he likes best is hard country.

Issue #3:  Location location location.  Chuck feels at home in his truck.  We've shot him at Larry's house and we've shot him in his own home, and he comes across most comfortably in his truck.  The interview we did with him at his house didn't work because there were two yappy dogs in the back bedroom that ruined the audio.  Camilo and I suggested that we kill them, but Chuck disagreed.

Issue #4:  Translation/subtitles.  Some people we initially showed the video to (video production students in two colleges in the northeast) couldn't understand everything Chuck was saying because of his accent.  We went round and round about this. "Subtitles are demeaning," I said, forgetting for a moment that I am genetically half-southern and have lived in Athens OH for more than 25 years, so this accent is nothin' but normal to me.  "But," others countered, "if you can't understand what he's saying, then how are you supposed to make the connection between the Mirapex and the gambling?  It's essential information!"  True dat.  But, as it turns out, even with the subtitles, people weren't making the connection:  almost everyone thinks that it's the PD causing the gambling, not the meds.
Another reason people may have wanted subtitles is because they had probably just seen Jenny's Radar, but there we use subtitles as a form of graphic design, not translation.  Anyway, we do HAVE a subtitled version of "Chuck's Truck" if you want to see it, but we'll think less of you if you do.  Seriously, people, all you have to do is pay attention!

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